Be afraid, be very, very afraid, people of Butler County, PA...

...because Dr. Roy Kerry, the negligent physician who killed an autistic child with chelation therapy and against whom criminal charges were dropped yesterday, wants to go back to work:

Dr. Roy Kerry, 70, of Sharpsville, read from a prepared statement today at the Butler offices of his attorney, Al Lindsay, but would not answer questions on the advice of his other lawyers. Kerry still faces a civil suit over the death of Abubaker Tariq Nadama, and a hearing on the future of his medical license.

"I plan to continue my life's work helping many patients with serious illnesses with the highest quality of advanced integrative medical care that I can offer," Kerry said.

The very sad thing is that, like Dr. Rashid Buttar, I'm reluctantly betting that Dr. Kerry will probably manage to do just that without much interference from the State of Pennsylvania. (Go back to work, that is; not help any patients or provide anything hear the "highest quality" of care, "conventional" or "integrative." He's already proven that he's incapable of providing high quality "integrative" care, given that he can't even give chelation therapy reasonably safely.) Let's really, really hope that Pennsylvania's medical board acts quickly and strips Dr. Kerry of his license or that he's forced to settle the malpractice suit against him for such a high sum of money that he becomes uninsurable. Of course, if that happens, then Arizona might be the next state to have to worry about Dr. Kerry. A few weeks of "training," and he'd be good to go as a "homeopath" there.

One line of this story caught my eye though:

District Attorney Richard Goldinger said he asked the court Tuesday for permission to drop charges of involuntary manslaughter and child endangerment against Kerry after new evidence was presented by his defense. He did not specify what information lead to the decision.

I really, really would love to know what that "new" evidence is. How much does anyone want to bet that antivaccinationists will somehow try to link mitochondrial disorders to Tariq's death, based on the Hannah Poling case?

More like this

If he has further problems in PA, he can always move to AZ and get his MD(H) from the Homeopathic Board. If he kills people, but doesn't do it "homeopathically", chances are they'll never take his license away.

Ah, 'integrative' is a code word for 'flimflam'.

His lawyer said that the way Kerry killed Abubakar was perfectly acceptable and the "preferred way" to chelate small childre or something.

So maybe Kerry will have parents of small autistic children lined up around the block to get the Abubakar Tariq Nadama Memorial Special? Endrate push while strapped to a papoose board while the doctor is out of the room and no crash cart avaialable?

I'd like to know what the judge was thinking. Not finding manslaughter in this case is ridiculous. It's like not finding OJ Simpson guilty, in my opinion.

This guy is an ENT. Why was he doing chelation on old people for heart disease? Why was he doing chelation on a kid whose quack lab reports didn't even indicate it was needed???

Shame on Butler county patients for supporting him with your business if he does start practicing again.

By Ms. Clark (not verified) on 07 May 2008 #permalink

Oh yeah. It was a medical "event" all right. And let's make sure to that DDS laboratories, Dr. Garry Gordon and Dr. Anju Usman for helping make this "event" possible. And let's that "Defeat Autism Now" (DAN!) for adding Dr. Kerry to their list of DAN! dox after he killed Abubakar in a horrifying manner.

By Ms. Clark (not verified) on 07 May 2008 #permalink

I thought of you earlier today when I read this on Google News. Sigh.....

By impatientpatient (not verified) on 07 May 2008 #permalink

I was in the ER in Butler Memorial once, getting an enormous piece of wood removed from a sensitive part of my anatomy. Unfortunately, they left a piece still under the skin. And then, on top of that, they mis-processed my insurance and started calling me to hound me about the bill. So if I were seeking any kind of medical care in Butler County, I'd be very, very afraid just on general principles...

By Interrobang (not verified) on 08 May 2008 #permalink

If you haven't done so, you should read Dr. Novella's blog on this matter at, entitled "Charges Dropped in Chelation-Autism Death", May 8, 2008, along with the comments (including the excellent comment by Orac).

Among other things, Dr. Novella describes one way that false positives in urine tests are generated to supposedly show high levels of heavy metals, which are used to convince patients (or parents of patients) that chelation is warranted. (Hint: read the small print on the test results and be sure that the appropriate test and measurment yardsticks were used). He warns:

"This is exactly what is happening in this subculture of autism and mercury - provoked urine tests are being used to validate the a priori belief in mercury toxicity, then chelation is given to treat the fictitious cause. Then, of course, subjective validation and the placebo effect come into play (as well as normal development - autistic children still develop and can improve as they age), giving the appearance that the chelation had some benefit."

Changing subjects completely, based on what is reported, I believe that the DA was correct in dismissing the charges. It appears that he concluded that he was going to be "out-experted" at this time. It does not appear that the charges were dismissed "with prejudice", so it looks like they can be re-filed, later.

In the newspaper article reporting the dismissal of the charges, Dr. Kerry's lawyer stated:

"Kerry's attorney, Al Lindsay, denied that the drug caused the boy's death. He said Tuesday that the drug given was not the wrong drug, as prosecutors contended, though he said it was not the 'preferred' drug. He also said it was not administered incorrectly.

'The administration by an IV push is the preferred method to do it,' Lindsay said.

Lindsay said the boy died of a lack of oxygen to the brain, which was caused by a heart problem not associated with the drug. Lindsay commended the district attorney's office for dropping the charges and said his client was relieved.

'There was a lot of misinformation that was out there and we were anxious to present it to a jury," Lindsay said. "But the truth of the matter is, we're obviously grateful that the district attorney took this position.'"

In light of numerous blogs about the mercury militia on this and other blogs, and even a quick google of "Chelation + mercury" reveals a huge amount of advertising (indicating that there's quite a bit of money being made), it isn't unlikely that those whose income would be threatened by a conviction of Dr. Kerry have been providing a lot of assistance to the defense.

Although the standards for qualifying expert witnesses are supposedly the same in criminal and civil proceedings, in fact it doesn't work that way. Because of all the rights afforded a criminal defendant, a criminal defendant usually can introduce any evidence that isn't completely irrelevant or any expert opinion evidence that isn't clearly junk science. Dr. Brown's statement from the CDC didn't help the DA, either. A reputable expert can nearly always be forced to admit that something is "possible" -- meaning that there are few instances in science or medicine that every possible opposing opinion has been conclusively ruled out. However, a jury of lay persons will likely take the expert's statement that something is "possible" to mean "maybe". With the DA's experts (at least for now) Kerry's lawyer would likely be able to get some admissions of "possible" on key points of testimony.

Further, if acquitted, Kerry would assert to the Med. Bd. and in the tort suit that he'd been found "innocent." That would be false, since acquittal means only that the evidence at trial was not sufficient to be beyond a reasonable doubt on all essential elements of the crimes charged. Further, as it is unlikely that the criminal court would excluded Kerry's expert's opinions, if the criminal trial was held before the Med. Bd. and in the tort suit, it would be almost impossible for the Bd. or civil court to exclude those opinions from evidence on the grounds that they failed to meet Daubert standards.

However, by dismissing the charges now, but reviewing the evidence after the Med. Bd. and tort suit are concluded, the dynamic is changed. The Med. Bd. may look at the experts Kerry proffers and say "poppycock" -- and as medical experts themselves, no judge (who's not a medical expert) will disagree. Or, the Med. Bd. can allow Kerry's experts to provide opinions, and then rip them apart in the Bd.'s reasons for its decision. In the civil suit, first the proferred experts have to provide expert's reports stating their opinions, methodology and references, and then be deposed, and if allowed to testify at trial, be cross-examined (and be criticized the the parents' experts). Any of Kerry's proffered experts whose opinions are excluded in the tort suit probably won't be allowed to testify in a later criminal trial.

When an expert provides an affidavit, report, article or other written document stating an opinion, he/she must be willing to live and die by exactly what the document states. Nothing discredits a witness (lay or expert) than being shown to hedge his/her testimony in ways not stated in a written document he/she signed. And, once he/she testifies, he/she has locked him/herself in.

Further, once Kerry takes a position on the facts in the civil trial or before the Med. Bd. (Was he or wasn't he in the room? How were the chelation agents marked and handled? etc.), he and his witnesses can't take differing positions in a criminal trial (unless they are willing to face trial for perjury). And with the factual and expert evidence and testimony from the Md. Bd. and civil trial, the DA also has the option of calling Kerry's witnesses to testify before a Grand Jury (Does the name "Scooter Libby" ring a bell?), and really lock them into their particular testimony -- which he can then use to prepare his own experts and fact witnesses.

In the O.J. trial, the prosecution was out-experted. However, the lawyers for the Brown and Goldman families used that at the tort suit, and were prepared to discredit those experts or show that the opinions were wrong.

If (and admittedly it's a big "if") the DA is doing this, then dismissal at this time was the correct strategy. And, frankly, DAs are politicians, so that the longer this story and questions about why criminal charges weren't pursued are discussed, the more heat will be on the DA to re-open the case later.

Those of use who are PA residents, and even those who are not, should perhaps write a not so subtle email to the state professional compliance office. The website is| This is for specific complaints, but perhaps evan a small email campaign will generate some needed attention. We should at least let them know that people outside this case, and even outside the state, are aware of the investigation.

Hey, he wouldn't have to go as far away as Arizona. Florida would probably OK his licensure...